Death in the Woods Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Death in the Woods.
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Human vs. Animal

The main theme of the story, as described by the narrator, concerns Mrs. Grimes's aim to "feed animal life"—including both humans and animals. She spends her life trying to sustain other life forms.

In other words, she feeds the German farmer and his wife, her husband and son, and the animals on their farm, making no particular distinction between them. The men in her life are crude, selfabsorbed, abusive, not significantly different from animals.

Mrs. Grimes is an outsider in the town; therefore it seems natural that she dies in the woods, surrounded by dogs. In turn, the dogs are endowed with civilized, almost human qualities. Anderson even assigns dialogue to them: "Now we are no longer wolves. We are dogs, the servants of men. Keep alive, man! When man dies we become wolves again." Moreover, the dogs do not eat the woman's body...

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This section contains 732 words
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Buy the Death in the Woods Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Death in the Woods from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.